Boissiere Orphan's Home (1912)

In the spring of 1892 Ernest Valeton Boissiere, a Frenchman who held a large tract of land in Franklin county, expressed his desire and intention to convey this land in trust for the establishment of an orphans' home and industrial school. On May 11, 1892, the persons agreed upon as the trustees met at Mr. Boissiere's home at Silkville, when a deed to the property was executed, and, the next day the charter of the institution was filed in the office of the secretary of state. At the session of the Kansas grand lodge of Odd Fellows at Fort Scott on Oct. 11-13, 1892, the trustees made a full report of the matter, which was referred to a special committee, consisting of several past grand masters, and this committee recommended the acceptance of the gift by the grand lodge. In the report the committee said: "We recommend the said orphans' home and industrial school to the favorable consideration of the Odd Fellows of the state, and hope that they will contribute as liberally as their means will permit to liquidate the claim assumed by the trustees against this property, so that it may at once be made ready for the reception of children."
The grand lodge adopted the report and recommendation of the committee, and in a few months lodges and individual members of the order had contributed over $12,500 for the establishment and support of the home. At the grand lodge meeting at Topeka in Oct., 1893, the trustees again made a complete report and asked for legislation on the part of the grand lodge to carry out the pledges made at Fort Scott the preceding year. They especially recommended the levying of a per capita tax of $1.50 to carry into effect the original plan. The grand lodge again adopted the report and recommendations of the trustees, but in the meantime apposition to the scheme had developed, and Reno Lodge, No. 99, of Hutchinson, brought suit in the district court of Shawnee county to enjoin the officers of the grand lodge from levying the tax. The court refused to grant the injunction and the lodge then appealed to the supreme court, which affirmed the decision. Steps were then taken to bring the question before the sovereign grand lodge at Chattanooga, Tenn., in Sept., 1894. The sovereign grand lodge declared the tax was lawful, but the following month the Kansas grand lodge met at Wichita and voted to sever its connection with the enterprise and extend no further support to the institution.
Soon after executing the trust deed to his land (3,156 acres) in 1892, Mr. Boissiere returned to France, where his death occurred on Jan. 12, 1894. With the action of the grand lodge in Oct., 1894, a number of competent lawyers held that the land reverted to the Boissiere estate. About the beginning of the year 1897 James A. Troutman, of the law firm of Troutman & Stone of Topeka, went to France and secured a quit-claim deed from Mr. Boissiere's sister, Madame Corrine Martinella of Bordeaux. Troutman & Stone then became the plaintiffs in a suit for possession of the property, but Judge S. A. Riggs of the Ottawa district court (Franklin county) decided in favor of the seven defendant trustees. The case was carried to the state supreme court on appeal and that tribunal reversed Judge Riggs' decision. After some further delay Troutman & Stone gained possession, and early in 1911 sold it to J. O. Patterson for $130,000.

Pages 201-202 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.

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